Young people on Merseyside are set to benefit from cheaper travel after Merseytravel and bus operators committed to develop a £2 flat fare all-day bus ticket which could reduce the cost of travel by more than 50 per cent.
Local authority leaders, MP for Liverpool Riverside and Chair of the Commons Transport Select Committee Louise Ellman and representatives from education establishments were invited to hear the announcement as part of the launch of the Merseytravel-led initiative ‘Fare Enough: A fair deal for young people’.
Leaders and transport operators signed a pledge to work together to bring down the cost of travel to help remove a potential barrier to education, work and leisure opportunities. Young people list the cost of transport as their number one concern according to the Campaign for Better Transport 2013.
Subject to details being finalised, the ticket, a Merseytravel product developed in partnership with bus operators, will be available for those 16 and under to buy on the bus from April for a trial period.
The £2 ticket will be the most flexible product available for young people. It will be able to be used all day and comes ahead of Merseytravel undertaking a full review of its pre-paid ticketing scheme.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “This is a fanstic deal for young people. I know this will make it easier for young people in my city to get to college, job interviews or to work at a fair price.”
The event also saw an update by Merseytravel on pilot projects which are already underway with schools and colleges to help young people with transport issues, such as personal journey planning and offering free travel tickets to some pupils from low income families whose attendance had been affected because they cannot afford to travel to school.
Students from Liverpool John Moores University were also on hand to explain the important role transport plays in their lives and pupils from Broadgreen International School performed a drama exploring affordability and access issues for young people.
Louise Ellman, Labour/Co-operative MP for Liverpool Riverside & Chair of the Commons Transport Select Committee said: “Today’s event reinforces the importance of transport for young people and highlights some of the issues that they face, the development of a £2 ticket is a step in the right direction and shows what can be done by working together to find affordable solutions.”
Cllr Liam Robinson, chair of Merseytravel added: “We know that the cost of transport can be a barrier to young people getting to school, college, work or making the most of their leisure time.
“We’ve already frozen the cost of our term time tickets and the pilot projects with schools and colleges and ticket trial are the next steps in our commitment to work with our operators, local authorities and educational establishments to get young people a better, more affordable offer overall.”
Managing Director of Stagecoach Merseyside, Elisabeth Tasker said: “We understand the pressures that many young people face when trying to access education, employment and leisure facilities. We already provide free travel for Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card holders to help local people access employment opportunities.
“Today’s announcement is another positive step towards delivering even more affordable travel for young people in Merseyside and we are pleased to be working with our partners to develop this product. Provided agreement can be reached with all parties, we look forward to trialling this new ticket which we hope will benefit lots of young people in the region.”
Howard Farrall, area managing director, Arriva Merseyside said: “Bus travel is essential for many younger people to access education, training and jobs. We recognise the importance of working with our partners to ensure that bus travel is both accessible and affordable for this age group and today’s announcement is a positive step forward for younger bus users.”